Who is Sunil Kanugolu, Congress poll strategist responsible for historic win in Telangana?
In a historic win for Congress, the national party is set to form government in Telangana, ousting K Chandrashekar Rao's BRS.
Leading in over 66 seats in the state, Congress is paving its path to a historic victory in the Telangana assembly elections 2023, ousting the government of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS).
This is the first time that BRS is on track to lose the elections in Telangana ever since the inception of the state in 2014. K Chandrashekar Rao will be stepping down from the CM post for the first time since 2014, with Congress leader Revanth Reddy expected to take the post.
However, poll strategist Sunil Kanugolu is one of the major reasons behind Congress' victory in Telangana, mirroring the same thumping majority bagged by the party in the Karnataka elections, earlier this year.
As per sources cited by the Indian Express, Kanugolu was given a free hand in Telangana to implement his strategies and conduct internal services. This freedom was not given to the poll strategist in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where leaders like Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath were reportedly not on board with his methods.
Who is poll strategist Sunil Kanugolu?
Sunil Kanugolu, a native of Karnataka, is one of the most popular election strategists in India, credited with the victory of the Congress party in Karnataka in May 2023. Kanugolu was the man behind planning INC's election campaign in Telangana, leading the party to a massive majority in the state.
Two years ago, Kanugolu was invited by KCR to his farmhouse in Hyderabad for a meeting. The Telangana CM offered to take him on the election strategy team for the polls but Kanugolu ended up declining the offer, joining Congress instead.
Kanugolu is known to be a direct advisor of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and was also tasked with planning a major chunk of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Before Congress, the poll strategist had worked with AIADMK, BJP and DMK.
Kanugolu was brought on by Congress after Prashant Kishor rejected their offer to be the poll strategist. He was appointed as a member of the Task Force 2024, a team created by the Congress to execute the Nav Sankalp (New Resolution) declaration adopted in Udaipur.
Earlier, Sunil Kanugolu was a part of Prashant Kishor's team to plan the poll strategy for BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when Narendra Modi became the prime minister of India for the first time.
Kanugolu was appointed the chairman of election strategy committee of the AICC, starting out with the Karnataka elections.